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Stories from the Harp: We Can All Make a Difference

June 24, 2016
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Charcoal drawing of harp and heart intertwined

This story comes to us from Diana Beaumont:

Years ago I was asked be part of a musical program at one of our local cancer treatment hospitals. Individual musicians were to play for ten or fifteen minutes at a time on various pre-assigned floors, then take their instrument to another floor, and so on, for two hours of music. Moving my big 36-string Dusty around wasn’t so easy, so I was allowed to stay in one place. Rules were pretty strict about being allowed to engage in conversation with patients…especially on anything medical or too personal, but I often would ask patients if they played an instrument. Usually their eyes would light up and conversation followed, providing a nice distraction for them. Sometimes I would even be handed an anonymous note passed via a nurse saying how much a patient enjoyed the relaxing music of the harp. One particularly busy day, as I was packing up my Dusty, I received a note that was signed from the whole floor staff, including a few of the docs. I hadn’t realized that the calm music actually helped them just as much (or more?) than the patients undergoing treatment and their anxious caregivers. That day lifted my heart in such a way that I will never forget how we all make a difference, no matter how small we think our efforts and talent may be.

Diana Beaumont played violin, classical guitar and piano as a child, but did not pursue music as a vocation. After retirement, she took up harp because she fell in love with it at a Celtic festival, and harp has become her musical home. With her hands full caring for three elderly parents, she has not had the time to become certified in therapeutic music, but she continues to share her love of harp music by playing for parties and receptions, in retirement homes, and occasionally in hospital settings.

If you have a personal story, photo or video that speaks to the therapeutic power of music, we would love to share it as part of this series! You can contact us here.

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